You're interviewing them just as much as they're interviewing you!
At the end of an interview, the hiring manager always asks, “Do you have any questions?” The response to that question should never be, “No.” Asking questions will provide you with additional details about the company, the role, and the culture. It also demonstrates that you're truly interested in the position.
What questions do you ask at the end of an interview?
Interviews shouldn't be a question-and-answer session, they should be a conversation. It can be hard to know what to ask at the end of an interview - you're probably just relieved to have made it to the end and can't wait to get out! But it's really worthwhile taking the opportunity to find out a bit more about the role. While you may not want to ask all of these, we've suggested 25 questions to ask at the end of an interview.
1. What was the most important question you asked me during this interview?
This will give you an idea of which quality the company is most interested in having in a new employee. It will also alleviate any butterflies you may have if you feel you didn't answer a question very well. If the question the hiring manager mentions is one that you feel you didn't answer effectively, take time to expound on your previous answer and provide a more robust response.
2. What is the most important quality the person filling this role will have?
If you've talked about this during the interview, then phrase it like this "I know we covered what characteristics you want your employee to have, but which is the most important?” Here, you're trying to find out if they want a person who is organized, who can multitask, or who can solve problems.
3. What are some of the company's short- and long-term goals?
You want to know whether they have goals, if their goals are lacking, or if they have ambitious goals. It can give you some insight into the health of the department and the organization as a whole. Knowing what they have coming up in the future also gives you a chance to indicate how you could help them to achieve their goals. Always come back to how you can help them.
4. What are the biggest challenges the company is facing right now?
Talk about a great opportunity to further discuss your skills! Listen intently to what the interviewer says, then empathize with their plight and talk about how your skills would be perfect for helping them to get past the challenge.
5. How is the company addressing these challenges?
Talking about helping them to overcome challenges will increase your value as a job candidate. Additionally, you'll know going in that there will be issues that need fixing. This is a great time to decide if you even want to be a part of that journey.
6. What is the most challenging thing about the role you seek to fill?
Now that you've taken the time to show interest in things the company is going through, it's time to talk about the role itself. Understanding what the hiring manager has been dealing with in trying to fill the role will give you some idea of their leadership style, what they're looking for in a candidate, and whether you truly fit the bill.
Sometimes, the interviewer will bad-mouth candidates. This is a huge indication that their leadership style may be lacking. Do you want to work for someone who talks poorly about others? You may hear the hiring manager say that they can't find someone with a specific skill. Take this opportunity to circle back to how you can fill that gap.
7. Can you show me examples of projects you currently have in progress?
If you can get the interviewer from behind the desk to walk you through the department to see what they have going on, then you've made some real progress during the interview. Also, knowing what projects you will have waiting at your desk if you're hired will help you to determine if the role is right for you.
If you think it's still the right job, talk to the hiring manager about how your education, skills, and experience match up with what they have going on. Let them know that your learning curve won't be too steep so there won't be a lot of time spent training you.
8. How does the company take a concept from idea to completion?
While you don't want to give the impression during your interview that you'll walk in the door and start changing things or implementing new processes instantly, it is a good idea to know their overall process.
9. Is there anyone else in the company that I should meet?
If you can get the hiring manager to show you current projects, ask who else will be important in the life of the new hire. Find out if there are other supervisors or Project Managers with whom you'll work.
10. Can you tell me about the person I'll report to?
You may not be able to meet other people during your interview. It could be that the interviewer is running out of time or simply that the person you'll report to isn't around at the moment. Whether you get to meet your supervisor or not, you can still ask who they are, because getting their name will allow you to research them online.
11. What's the team like?
When this question is asked at the end of your interview, you show that you want to fit in. Culture has become an important factor in today's workforce. After you learn about how the staff works together, take a moment to show that you're excited to know that because it's how you like to work, too.
12. How long have you been here, in what position did you start, and why do you like working for this company?
Obviously, the interviewer is going to sing the company's praises, but communication isn't just about what comes out of someone's mouth. Watch to see if his/her body language matches what they say. You'll learn more about the company and how they treat employees.
13. What did you do before you were in this job?
You were asked about your background, it's only fair that you ask about the interviewer's background. Knowing where he/she came from can help you to know where you may go in your own future. Additionally, if the hiring manager gets the impression you're trying to get to know them it shows that you are really interested in the position.
14. How do you measure performance?
Companies often measure performance to determine compensation. In a lot of cases, formal evaluations, and some sort of record, are made. Knowing how they measure performance may give you an indication of a timeframe for expecting a raise in pay. You can also use this end of interview question to get an idea of performance standards.
15. Are there formal evaluations?
There are 3 ways to measure performance. Try to discover whether the evaluations are narrative or if the company uses some sort of scale. If the role you seek is competitive, you may find that you're evaluated against your colleagues' performance rather than your own past performances.
16. How often do those evaluations take place?
Knowing the schedule of the performance reviews is an indication of whether the company is well-structured. If the interviewer makes it seem like reviews only take place when they're needed, this may be an indication that you're heading into a job with no advancement opportunities.
17. How does the company reinforce employee actions, behaviors, and work performance?
There are several ways to punish or reward performance. Some companies use a progressive discipline policy, while others encourage new training to augment skills. Asking which they use is one of the best post-interview questions, because how you'll be treated can be the deciding factor on whether you want to work for the company.
18. Where do you see the person you hire for the role in a year?
Interviewers love throwing the “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” question at candidates. Give it back to them. It'll show them you're interested in the long term and you'll know if there are advancement possibilities.
19. Will I be allowed to perform stretch assignments to expand my knowledge and use skills in areas outside my specified job role?
This is one of the best questions to ask at the end of an interview to see if there are opportunities to advance. You may not be looking for a stepping-stone position. If you're trying to find your forever work home, knowing that you're not going to end up in a dead-end job is a great thing to know going in.
20. Why is this position open? Is it new or did someone leave?
You can find out more about the role - whether it is a one-stop kind of job or whether there's advancement - by finding out more about the reason the position is open. If the job is a revolving door for prior staff, there's usually a reason for that. Perhaps the company created this position for a challenge they're facing. You need to know whether the role will still exist once that challenge has been overcome.
21. What have past employees done to succeed in this position?
If the role isn't new, knowing what others did to succeed gives you a leg up on being successful. When the interviewer talks about the qualities other employees had or the things they did, take a moment to remind him/her about your qualifications.
22. What does failure in this position look like?
Just like it helps to know what success looks like, you want to know what has caused others to fail. Avoid talking badly about past employees, but use this moment to show how you will take those lessons to heart and not repeat what's already happened.
23. Do you have any reservations about my qualifications?
This is a unique interview question that most people aren't brave enough to ask. Asking if there's something they don't like about you can be hard, but it's powerful. If there are any hiccups in your experience, education, or skill level, now is the time to find out.
There are a couple of outcomes that can be presented with this question. First, you can try to put the interviewer's concerns to rest by showing that what they're worried about is something you can fix. Second, you now have some information about professional development courses you may need to take to improve your chances of landing a job in this industry.
24. What are the next steps in the interview and onboarding procedure?
The reason for this question is obvious. Following up after an interview is critical to the success of your job search. Knowing their timeline, whether you'll have future interviews, and if they have other people to interview gives you a good idea of when you should put your name back in front of the hiring manager.
25. Has a date been set for when you want to have someone hired?
This is a great interview follow-up question. Many people will go home and sit by the phone or keep a constant eye on their email looking for a job offer. If you walk out of that office knowing the proposed date of hire, you won't be so nervous if it takes a bit of time for you to hear back from them. You'll also know when it's time to move on from this role to another one.
Questions that you should not ask the interviewer
While you're trying to show that you're the best candidate for a job and determine whether the company is right for you, some questions are simply inappropriate for an interview. Asking the wrong questions can make you seem ill-prepared and can potentially shed a negative light on you as a candidate.
In fact, some of the avoid-at-all-cost questions can make it seem like you only care about what the company can do for you, rather than what you can do for them. Examples of questions to avoid:
How much does the position pay?
What does the company do?
How soon after I start work can I begin applying for other roles within the company?
Do you do background checks?
Does the company monitor computer usage?
Stick to the 3 Ps to achieve the perfect interview
Preparation, practice, and positivity can replace most of the questions you should avoid. It all goes back to researching the company, role, and salary expectations. Questions about background checks and whether they monitor computer usage throw up big red flags that you would be the type of person who breaks the rules. By projecting positivity and professionalism, you'll squash those ideas without harming your candidature.
Don't forget about the 3 things you should do after an interview
Just because you nailed the interview, and asked all the right follow-up questions, doesn't mean you're a shoo-in. You have to send a thank you, follow up, and evaluate your performance to correct anything that didn't go exactly as you planned for the next interview.
Don't let your interview be one-sided. Join in the conversation. You're not required to like every job for which you interview; asking questions is the best way to find out whether the job is right for you.
If you need help with questions to ask at the end of an interview, or any other aspect of interviewing, one of our career experts at TopInterview can help.
Timing is Everything: When to Follow up After Your Interview